23 February 2012
In June 2011, the ICANN Board of Directors approved a ‘New Generic Top Level Domain Programme' that allows the implementation of additional gTLDs. Under this programme new gTLDs such as ‘.bank' and ‘.fin' could be established and assigned to companies or individuals claiming to be financial intermediaries or banks.
The EBA has had the opportunity to examine the issue of the envisaged new Top Level Domains (TLDs) ending in ‘.bank' and ‘.fin' in detail and to discuss it in the latest meeting of its Board of Supervisors in December 2011. It has come to the conclusion that there are many supervisory concerns surrounding the operation of the proposed TLDs by the ICANN, relating mostly to the great potential, according to the EBA view, for misuse by unscrupulous individuals, and that, therefore, any plans for their operation should ideally be discontinued.
It is the view of the EBA that potential mitigating measures such as those which, we understand, are envisaged by the ICANN (creation of separate entity for the registration and control of these TLDs, or other technical ways to ensure the security of the system) do not necessarily mitigate the financial supervisors' concerns. The potential for consumers of financial services to over-rely on what might be perceived as ‘regulatory endorsement' of the companies operating under such TLDs is immense, and the risk for new types of fraud and ‘phishing' can be enormous. The same can be said of the danger for confusion regarding the operation of legitimate websites by ‘true' financial institutions and regulated entities. This could lead to the need for them to establish costly and complex legal or commercial initiatives in order to safeguard their trademarks from frauds and abuses.
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